Thursday, January 12, 2017

January 13, 2017

"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." Romans 12:3

Have you discovered the delicate balance between having to high of an opinion of yourself and thinking that God cannot use you at all? That "sober" evaluation of who you are in Christ AND of Who He can be in you is what leads to fruitfulness and fulfillment as a Christian! Therefore, one of the hardest accomplishments in life is to arrive at an objective view of yourself and your abilities. Perhaps the harder thing is maintaining it once you get it. To do so requires a delicate balance between pride and humility - OR - between arrogance and false humility.

Paul gives some insights on how to find that balance. He says the key is to measure yourself against your potential in Christ rather than compare yourself to other Christians. That will largely be determined by the extent that you know Christ and understand yourself. He has already challenged you to have your heart changed and your mind transformed by His Spirit. Only when you have the mind of Christ can you "soberly judge" yourself. Only when you know what your spiritual gift(s) is (are) can you be honest in your view of yourself.

I completely surrendered to the will of God when I was 14 years old. But at that time I had a very poor self-image and very little self-confidence. So, when God called me into the ministry I struggled gathering enough confidence to see myself in a pastoral role. It took me four years to grow and mature into the understanding of self-confidence based on God confidence. A trusted spiritual mentor constantly reminded me that with God's calling comes His enabling. And I came to understand the truth about spiritual gifts, special abilities given by God and activated by His Holy Spirit that enable me to minister in His Name. I could partner with God to accomplish the calling He had placed on my life. I began to understand that "without God I could nothing" BUT I could "do all things through Christ Who gives me strength". I could identify with Paul when he said, "To whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" Col. 1:27.

I learned during those formative years that self-confidence for the Christian is "Christ confidence". Having confidence was not about me, it was about Who He was and Who He could be in me. If I would surrender to Him and live a consecrated life walking obediently with Him He could use me. But God would not be able to use me if I thought too highly of my abilities. No could He use me if I had no confidence. The answer was to find my confidence in Him and His ability to use me in ministry.

Later, I learned about "spiritual gifts" or "the measure of faith" that God has given to every believer. Once I took my ego out of the equation, once I stopped measuring myself compared to other people and, instead, measured myself based on who I was in Christ - AND, who He was in me that's the day I was able to believe that God could use me in ministry! I believe that is what the phrase "sober judgment" means.

How about you? Have you discovered your spiritual gift? And if you have, are you using it in your local church.

If you answer "no" to either of these questions it is time to "sober up"!